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Animal Bones for Archaeologists - ARC00031M

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  • Department: Archaeology
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. David Orton
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20

Module aims

  • To provide (a) a detailed introduction to animal bones for the benefit of bioarchaeologists, field archaeologists, and human bones specialists; and (b) a basis for further study in zooarchaeology. 
  • To give an overview of vertebrate anatomy, including the chemistry, structure, and growth of bone and teeth.
  • To explain the processes of deposition and decay of animal remains, and how these can be reconstructed (taphonomy and diagenesis). 
  • To provide students with the tools to make informed decisions about sampling animal remains for a range of purposes.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should:

  • Understand the chemistry, histology, and growth patterns of bones and teeth.
  • Be familiar with the principles and broad pattern of evolutionary anatomy in vertebrates.
  • Understand the principles of taphonomy and diagenesis (i.e. bone survival), and be able to recognise their effects in the field and laboratory.
  • Be able to select suitable samples for biomolecular analyses, microscopic analyses, and scientific dating.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - Animal Bones for Archaeologists
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay - Animal Bones for Archaeologists
N/A 100

Module feedback

Timing of written and verbal feedback is published on our deadlines pages:

Formative assessment

Summative assessment

Indicative reading

Reading lists are published to the module web pages or VLE

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.